Finding a great cheap and affordable running shoe can be difficult.
With running shoes, you typically get what you pay for. Less expensive shoes don’t always feel as good or protect your feet as well as costlier options. Plus they are often not durable and wear out fast.
But there are gems out there. It is possible find cheap running shoes that will keep you comfortable and injury-free when running. In the first part of this article, we’ll go over the best affordable running shoes. All of these shoes fall in the $100 price range.
If you want something even cheaper, we recommend buying a discontinued running shoe in your size. Most running shoes get updated about once per year. When the new version arrives, any leftover inventory of the older models goes on sale.
In this second part of this article, we’ll review the best discontinued shoes. These typically cost about 25% less than their original cost. But they often sell out quickly, especially in the nicer colors. We’ll tell you which shoes are the best and when to start looking for them on sale.
But first the best – and newest – affordable running shoes in 2020…
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Brooks Launch 7
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Saucony Kinvara 11
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Brooks Ravenna 11
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1. Brooks Launch 7
The Launch 7 is the probably the best $100 running shoe available today. This means it’s also the best affordable running shoe available. Because when you start buying running shoes for less than $100, there is a steep drop-off in quality and comfort.
The Launch 7 is extremely lightweight, clocking in at 7.5 ounces. But it’s still supportive and cushion-y, and provides a snappy ride.
Aside from its light weight, the Launch 7 has a medium-high foot arch, which makes it much more comfortable than other running shoes if you have a high or medium arch. It’s not recommend for runners with flat arches as it doesn’t have enough stability to manage overpronation.
The Launch 7 also has a bio-gel midsole cushion which conforms to your feet and reduces the chance of getting blisters.
In the outersole, the Launch 7 has a specialized thatch pattern which provides enough flex to help maintain proper running form by promoting a smooth heel to toe transition.
- Good aesthetics
- Great for people with medium to high arches
- Inexpensive, even for an affordable running shoe
- Not for runners who need support
- Not as plush or cushioned as more expensive shoes
2. New Balance FuelCell Echo
Finding a running shoe that balances responsiveness with cushioning is hard. You want to protect your foot without it feeling too stiff.
You also want a shoe that can breathe. Too much sweat and moisture causes its own problems.
The FuelCell Echo line does a good job of balancing those needs.
The midsole of this shoe is where a lot of the work behind its design really shows. Made to be lightweight, the midsole also helps to transfer heat away from your foot.
It’s also where a lot of the responsiveness in the shoe happens. The sole protects you from hard surfaces, particularly pavement and gravel.
The midsole absorbs impact and returns that energy, helping propel you forward. That responsiveness also helps to cut down on foot and ankle fatigue while running.
It’s available in several different colors, and in the full range of standard US adult sizes.
However, they don’t come in wide sizes and tend to run slightly narrow/small. So you may want to order a half-size up from your normal shoe size.
- Cooling interior materials
- Highly responsive
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Narrow fit
- Wide sizes not offered
3. Mizuno Wave Shadow 3
The Mizuno Wave Shadow 3 has a unique design which makes it the best fit for mid-foot strikers. It’s fast and comfortable – an affordable option for runners doing shorter distances.
The Shadow 3 focuses on breathability as one of the core aspects of this shoe’s performance. The mesh upper is great at keeping your feet cool. Those same features also mean that the shoe dries faster if you get it wet.
It’s also a good option for runners who tend to run on the front part of their foot. The Shadow 3 helps to spread out pressure from impact which reduces strain on any one part of the foot and ankle.
The outsole is made of carbon rubber. It gives superior grip and control, with a higher durability than standard rubber.
The whole design very comfortable. Like any good running shoe, the Shadow has a responsive but shock-absorbing sole.
- Lightweight design
- Extra breathability
- Durable outsole
- Spreads out pressure from impact
- Slightly stiff toe
- Runs slightly small for size
4. Brooks Ravenna 11
The Ravenna 11 is a great running shoe for people who need a lightweight shoe and have relatively flat feet. The Ravenna 11 offers a touch of support, so it works best for runners who mildly overpronate.
The Ravenna 11 has two separate gel pockets built into the midsole. One is for the front pad of the foot, and the other is for the arch and heel. This sophisticated feature allows for great comfort in an affordable package.
The BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning helps to create a light and responsive feeling from the shoes, which means that you’ll feel nimble on your feet.
It’s rare to find a stability shoe for under $110, leaving the Ravenna 11 as the best affordable option if you overpronate. The upper mesh is also helpful, as it is engineered for maximum breathability. This means you’ll stay cooler on your longer runs.
- Dual-cushion and sole design
- Extremely comfortable
- Great for those with flat feet
- Light for stability shoe
- Mesh isn’t durable
- Not as cushioned as other stability shoes
5. Saucony Kinvara 11
The Saucony Kinvara 11 is a lightweight running shoe which fits like a glove and promotes a natural running stride. This helps you run efficiently, which will allow you to run faster, longer.
To accomplish this, the Kinvara 11 has a PWRRUN midsole. This provides springy cushioning that’s durable and adds comfort to the shoe. This allows the Kinvara to stay lightweight and cushioned while still providing the unique and responsive ride the Kinvara is known for.
The Kinvara 11 has a 4mm drop. This means the heel is raised 4mm above the toe. This makes the shoe fairly flat – ideal to run with good form but just enough lift to cushion heel strikers.
The Kinvara 11’s outersole is minimal but effective. The traction is best for running on asphalt, as it’s not as durable as other running shoes. This also means you won’t get as many miles out of these shoes as you will for others.
- Promotes natural running mechanics
- Hugs foot for secure fit
- Light but cushioned
- Responsive, fast ride
- Weak traction
- Less durable than other running shoes
- May be hard to use if you’re not accustomed to low, 4mm drop
6. Hoka One One Rincon
The Hoka One One Rincon blends Hoka’s highly cushioned midsole with a fast, responsive ride. While most of Hoka’s shoes tend to be quite expensive, the Rincon is one of their more affordable options.
The shoe is made for neutral runners. It’s best for runners with medium to high arches who don’t need added stability.
There is a toe to heel drop of 5mm in a new shoe – it might feel flat when you walk around in them. But with Hoka’s meta-rocker design, it still feels smooth and fast. It should work for runner’s who land mid-foot or heel-strike.
The shoes are lightweight, and generally feel lighter on your feet that other running shoes. That said, they may not last as long as other Hoka’s.
Overall, the Rincon is a nice option if you’re looking for a cushioned shoe at a good price.
- Cushioned but lightweight
- Smooth ride
- Affordable option for Hokas
- May not be as durable as other Hoka running shoes
7. Altra Viho
The Altra Viho is a zero-drop running shoe with nice responsiveness. It’s designed to mimic barefoot running while providing the cushioning of a shoe.
The wide toe box gives plenty of space for your toes to move around. If you’ve struggled with other running shoes pinching your toes, this is a good option.
The Viho zero-drop design will help you run more naturally. Zero-drop means your toes and heels are even. Traditional running shoes raise the heel higher by up to 10 mm.
The result is that you’ll start running with a fast cadence and midfoot landing. It will also help build up the muscles in your foot, ankle, and calf.
The midsole stays flexible and lightweight but still has plenty of cushioning to protect your feet. The upper is light and breathable, ideal to keep your feet cool.
If you haven’t used a zero-drop shoe before, it can take some getting used to. Expect some soreness if you’re used to a more traditional running shoe. You’ll especially feel it in your calves. Your best bet is to ease into the shoes gradually over a few weeks.
- Encourages natural running form
- Lightweight and cushioned
- Responsive design
- Great entry-level shoe for runners who want to try a minimal running shoe
- Tongue material may be too thick for some runners, causing a pinch
8. Adidas Aerobounce 2
The Aerobounce 2 is a nice responsive running shoe that’s also a great value. The shoe provides extra support without being too stiff, making for a comfortable run.
Like most running shoes we’ve look at, it’s lightweight. The uppers are made with breathable mesh, keeping you cool.
This shoe isn’t a true specialist, it doesn’t excel in any one area. Instead, it’s a balanced shoe that has a wide range of strengths.
The Aerobounce 2 is designed to provide some extra energy return as you run. But it’s got enough added support to control your momentum without feeling out of control.
While this shoe will protect your midfoot, it works for most arch types. Only very high arches and very low arches will need other shoes or a different insole. It does have a more significant drop than some of the shoes we’ve talked about: 10mm instead of 5mm or lower.
It’s only available in a few colors, so you’re a little more limited on style.
- Highly cushioned
- Energy return midsole
- Lightweight and breathable
- Fits a bit narrow
9. Skechers GOrun Hyper Burst
The GOrun Hyper Burst is another well-rounded running shoe.
It’s got a 7.5mm drop. That’s halfway between most of the shoes on this list, which range from 5mm to 10mm drop. If you’ve tried other shoes and found them too high, or not enough, this might be a good option.
This shoe also uses a new more comfortable responsive foam. Don’t be surprised if they feel a little different than the shoes you’re used to. The insole is made to cool and, combined with the mesh fabric top, is a very breathable shoe.
We do want to note that this shoe has a thicker midsole than most running shoes. Despite being a lightweight option. It’s worth mentioning that it’s still a cushioned, comfortable ride.
You can get it in standard US sizes, but it only comes in one width.
- Comfortable lightweight design
- Innovative foam midsole
- Tends to run small and a bit narrow
The Best Discontinued Running Shoes
Discontinued running shoes are sometimes the best deals you can find. Running shoes typically get updated to a new version about once a year. When the new model is introduced, the excess inventory of the older is put on sale, usually at 25% off its original price (and sometimes a lot more).
What do you lose when you buy last year’s running shoe? Usually it’s the color and style of the shoe that changes. But sometimes the entire shoe gets upgraded. This is typically for the better, but shoe manufacturers do make mistakes and mess up a popular shoe.
If you particularly love a certain pair of shoes, buying them in bulk when they go on sale is a great way to ensure you’ll be running in that shoe for a long time to come.
In this article, we’ll break down the discontinued version of the most popular running shoes. Most of these running shoes get updated in either the spring or fall, so we’ll break down our reviews into those that go on sale in the spring/summer and those that start to go on sale in the fall/winter.
Our reviews are for the most recent discontinued model of that particular running shoe. Depending on the time of year, you may or may not be able to find them in all sizes and colors. Often, you’ll have to sacrifice your favorite color to find the right size.
The running shoes listed here get updated in the spring, so look for them to start appearing on sale between April and early June. Often these get sold out fairly quickly – so you’ll have a harder time finding them on sale in the late fall through winter.
10. Brooks Ghost 11
The Brooks Ghost series is one of Brooks’ best-selling running shoes. It’s a great everyday trainer for neutral runners who want a cushioned yet responsive ride.
The Ghost is known for a wide toebox but snug fit in the midfoot. It has a high drop, good for heel strikers, and feels snappy when you run.
Version 11 has a secure fit in the midfoot and a comfortable upper. It’s not quite as comfortable as the newest version, Ghost 12, but it’s still very comfortable. The midsole and cushioning are comparable in both models.
The Brooks Ghost 11 works best on the road, but has a semi-aggresive tread that provides some decent traction trails. The Ghost is at home for everyday runs, long runs, and long distance races.
- Great for people with high to medium arches
- Great for those who need lots of cushioning
- Some might find the heel too wide
- Some runners complain the midfoot is tight
11. Saucony Ride ISO 2
Beyond color and style, there a few differences between the Saucony ISO and the Ride ISO 2, Saucony’s last ISO version of the Ride. Both are cushioned running shoes ideal for runners who need an everyday trainer and don’t overpronate.
The Ride ISO 2 has ISOFIT lacing for a soft upper. FORMFIT sole provides a contoured mold to your feet.
The EVERUN topsole in the Ride ensures the shoe will feel as great as the end of the run as when you first begin. Additionally, EVERUN foam lasts longer than traditional foam so you’ll get more miles in these shoes.
The upper has a great fit, although if your feet may not feel secure enough with the ISO lacing. They are lightweight and feature an 8 mm drop for a natural running feel. The traction on the outersole further adds to a natural running motion.
- Great for those with medium to high arches
- Multiple padding systems for each region of the foot
- Comfortable mesh and toe region
- Heel collar low – might be uncomfortable for some runners
- Midsole may be too springy for some people
12. Hoka One One Clifton 5
The Hoka One One Clifton 5 is an award-winning road shoe that novices and experienced runners alike will enjoy. The Clifton has the best cushion-to-weight ratio out there – it’s very light yet highly cushioned.
The Clifton 5’s large sole has a slight rocker – this takes some getting used to but makes for a smooth transition while running.
The Clifton – like other Hokas – has tons of cushioning. But it also has a more neutral look, making it popular for runners who don’t want the extreme stack height of other Hoka running shoes.
One complaint about the Clifton 5s are that they wear down faster for heavier runners.
- Lots of cushioning
- Good for those with medium to high arches
- Very comfortable
- Wears out fast for heavy runners
- Not as wide as other Hoka shoes in toe box
13. Asics Gel-Kayano 26
The Asics Kayano 26 is a great shoe for runners who want a cushioned, soft ride and overpronate.
To address overpronation, the Kayano 26 has a DuoMax support system in its midsole. The support system is at a slight angle, which means that the foot is only engaged when necessary.
The gel midsole of the Kayano 26 also adds a lot of soft cushioning – also very helpful for those who are recovering from an injury. The shoe has a heel clutching system, which nicely cradles the back heel for a secure fit.
- Corrects overpronation
- Great for sensitive heels and joints
- Efficiency-increasing midsole
- Highly durable
- Less comfortable for those with high arches
14. Brooks Glycerin 17
The Brooks Glycerin 17 shoes are great for people with sensitive knees and joints because of their massive cushioning.
Aside from their powerfully cushioned sole, the shoes offer a large amount of support for your arch, which means that the shoe is extra effective for those with high arches.
Reviewers praise the Glycerin 17 for its ability to prevent additional pain caused by shin splints. Other reviewers claim that the shoes are helpful for dealing with their sensitive Achilles’ tendon. For the most part, these shoes are ideal for runners who want a plush, cushioned ride.
These shoes are good for neutral runners who want an everyday trainer, perfect for long runs or slow recovery runs.
- Great for recovering from injuries
- Great for those who need high arch support
- Easy to fit for all but those who have flat feet
- Mediocre aesthetics
- Toe region tends to fray
These running shoes are most popular models that typically go on sale in late summer/early fall. Start looking for your favorite pair to go on sale in September or October.
15. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
The Brooks Adrenaline GTS is one of the best-selling shoes in the running industry. It’s cushioned and supportive, perfect for runners with flat arches who need extra stability.
The Adrenaline 19 has a seamless upper that gives a sleek and streamlined look. But it still provides a nice, secure fit.
A highly durable and treaded outersole means you won’t be slipping in wet and muddy conditions. It also has a guide rail system, which helps ensure your proper running posture if you overpronate.
The GTS 19 is a slightly heavy shoe, mainly because of its supportive and cushioned midsole.
- Great fit, works for many runners
- Excellent tread
- Breathable mesh
- Helps runners who overpronate
- Average aesthetics
16. Asics GT-2000 7
The Asics GT-2000 7 features Asics’ unique gel cushioning and a snug heel to keep you locked in the shoe. These features include an impact guidance system to help correct the stride of runners who overpronate.
Other features include gel cushions for the heel and toe, each of which is designed to diffuse impact pressure into the shoe. This means that your body won’t become as stressed by using these shoes when you run. The additional comfort in the sole will help to keep you going on long runs.
Finally, the shoe has a unique feature: engineered lace eyelets. The lace eyelets are such that the shoe can have a close and highly comfortable fit, but not feel tight.
- Separate rearfoot and forefoot gel padding systems
- Vertical flex groove insole to increase gait efficiency
- Meshed eyelets for laces to reduce the feeling of tightness while maintaining fit
- Shoe size runs small – may need to order a half size larger
17. Brooks Ravenna 10
The Brooks Ravenna 10 is a lightweight stability shoe perfect for runners who need just a touch of support to correct mild overpronation. With these running shoes, you’ll get a modest amount of cushioning and support in an agile and springy design.
The shoe’s blown rubber outsole is simple but effective. Its main draw is that it’s practically indestructible. The upper is stitched together in spots – so it’s tad heavier than the newest model and not as sleek-looking.
- Great price
- Good for mild overpronators
- Ugly aesthetics
- Plastic components on the side may scratch and discolor
18. Saucony Guide ISO 2
The Saucony Guide have a great feature set that includes a flexible sole and springy cushioning that’s ideal for runners with low to flat arches. Though the shoe is a bit heavier than other running shoes, it’s still very springy thanks to the PWRRUN cushioning.
The shoe is made for road and track, even though its stiff sole and plush cushion make it tough enough to handle light trails.
The shoe’s tread is allows for a natural running motion. And the 8 mm drop makes it easy to land on the ball of your foot.
- Great for runners with low arches
- Superior quality tread and topsole system
- Fit not ideal for runners with wide feet
19. Asics Gel-Nimbus 21
The Asics Nimbus 21 is great for neutral runners thanks to its gel foam. The midsole provides great springiness right in the food pad and great shock absorbance in the heel. Your foot will be cushioned and feel great in the plush ride.
The Nimbus 21 uses a no-stitching design, which makes the shoes far more durable and reduces weight. Additionally, the no-stitching design reduces points of blistering and irritation on your feet, so you’ll have more comfortable long runs and shearing during turning.
- Good aesthetics
- Highly cushioned, feels great
- Heavy shoe